Secrets of the Dead: Season 3 (2002 - 2003)

SEASON:

Season 3
Secrets of the Dead

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80%

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Critic Ratings: 5

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Episodes

Air date: May 8, 2002

"Search for the First Humans" explores whether 6-million-year-old bones unearthed in Kenya in 2000 represent what narrator Liev Schreiber calls "the base of the human evolutionary tree." The find, called "Orrorin" ("original man" in the local language) is almost twice as old as "Lucy," the oldest hominid previously found, but Martin Pickford and Brigitte Senut of the French National Museum of Natural History think Orrorin is more directly related to humans. First, though, it must be determined that Orrorin walked upright, and no kneebone was found. But evidence of bipedalism can be found in the neckbone.

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Air date: Oct 30, 2002

"Mystery of the Black Death" explores why the plague that swept through Europe periodically from the 14th through 17th centuries didn't kill everyone who was exposed to it. The hour follows American geneticist Stephen O'Brien as he visits Eyam, a small town in the north of England, to try to determine why many in the town survived an outbreak in 1665-66 or didn't get sick at all. The answer: "a tiny genetic mistake" known as Delta 32, says narrator Liev Schreiber.

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Air date: Nov 20, 2002

"Titanic's Ghosts" traces efforts to use DNA technology to identify three victims of the sunken ship whose remains are buried in a Halifax, Nova Scotia, cemetery. The three: a woman in her early 30s, a man in his early 20s and a boy who was about 2. "It would be a rounding off of the whole tragedy," says an Englishwoman who's hoping that the young man was her uncle. The hour also chronicles the Titanic's sinking, on April 12, 1912; and the recovery of 328 bodies a week later by Canadian sailors. Liev Schreiber narrates.

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Air date: Nov 27, 2002

Did Nero really fiddle while "The Great Fire of Rome" destroyed two-thirds of the imperial capital in 64A.D.? Did Nero actually start it? He had a motive, historians say during this hour. They say he wanted to rebuild the city (and call it "Neropolis"), but that the Senate opposed him. "Perhaps," says narrator Liev Schreiber, "Nero decided to smoke them out." But British fire inspector Dave Townsend points out how the fire, which raged for nine days, could have spread naturally. And historian Gerhard Baudy makes the case that Christians---whom Nero himself blamed---could have fanned the flames.

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Air date: Jan 15, 2003

"Tragedy at the Pole" retraces the ill-fated 1911-1912 Antarctic expedition of Britain's Robert Falcon Scott, who lost the race to the South Pole then died on the way back. Scott has been portrayed as a "heroic bungler," narrator Liev Schreiber says, but in this hour, noted climatologist Susan Solomon rebuts that charge. "He was clearly a scientist of enormous capability," she says, but he was done in by a freak cold snap, with temperatures consistently in the minus-30-degree range.

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Air date: Feb 12, 2003

"Bombing Nazi Dams" chronicles the May 1943 British raid on six Ruhr Valley dams in an effort to deny water to German industry. The weapon: a "bouncing bomb" designed to "skip" across the water and strike the dams from the sides. It was, says narrator Liev Schreiber, "the most ingenious weapon of World War II." The son and assistant of designer Barnes Wallis describe the design process, and surviving crewmen (almost 40 percent died) recall their ordeal.

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Secrets of the Dead: Season 3 Photos

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Critic Reviews for Secrets of the Dead Season 3

All Critics (5) | Top Critics (5)

A well-written, provocative, inventive show, appropriate to the holiday season.

Mar 9, 2020 | Full Review…

An enormously satisfying documentary and one of which the makers should be proud.

Mar 11, 2020 | Full Review…
Top Critic

There was nothing particularly distinguished about Secrets of the Dead, but the ideas expressed in the film were compelling.

Mar 9, 2020 | Full Review…
Top Critic

"Death" may just creep the bejesus out of you. A treat.

Mar 9, 2020 | Rating: B | Full Review…

Director Emma Whitlock's approach, however, smacks of sensationalism.

Mar 9, 2020 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Secrets of the Dead: Season 3

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